H's Reviews > Heart of a Shepherd

Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry
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Jan 31, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012-caudill
Read in February, 2011

I'm stubbornly giving this a 4th star, though I'm not sure how many kids will be attracted to or like this quiet tale of a 12 year old boy growing up on a modern day ranch in Oregon. Ignatius (called "Brother" by one and all) is the youngest of 5 motherless boys who live with their father and grandparents on a cattle and sheep ranch. At the beginning of the story, their father is shipping out (along with many of their neighbors) to a tour of duty in Iraq. The oldest 4 boys are variously on their own Army base, at college or at a boarding high school 50 miles away. That leaves "Brother" and his grandparents to run the ranch. The book gives enough of a look at the difficulty of this life without weighing it down. An adult will see the crisis at the end coming a mile away, but children will not. What I liked most about the book is the abiding and strong sense of faith and duty that form the center of the book, and a depiction of death that is neither trivializing or fearful. Brother and his family are unapologetically religious (without being dogmatic) and their faith is central in their lives. A dignified and warm look at conservative westerners. A warning - there is a fairly graphic description of Brother assisting at the birth of a calf that might upset the woozier child.
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03/01/2016 marked as: read

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